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Solar Energy Major

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Solar Energy

28 Associates's Degrees Annually
#176 in Popularity (Associate's)
$46,010 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Solar Energy Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many solar energy technology/technician graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Basic Certificate 117
Undergraduate Certificate 33
Associate’s Degree 28

What Solar Energy Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, solar energy tech majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for Solar Energy Tech Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in solar energy tech should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Skills for Solar Energy Tech Majors

A major in solar energy tech prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

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  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Troubleshooting - Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.

Abilities for Solar Energy Tech Majors

Solar Energy Tech majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

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  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

What Can You Do With a Solar Energy Major?

People with a solar energy tech degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Electrical Engineering Technologists 5.2% $63,200
Electronics Engineering Technologists 5.2% $63,200
Solar Photovoltaic Installers 104.4% $42,680

Who Is Getting an Associate’s Degree in Solar Energy?

28 Associate's Degrees Annually
11% Percent Women
36% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This major attracts more men than women. About 89% of the graduates in this field are male.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of solar energy tech majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Solar Energy Tech Students with Associate's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 1
Black or African American 1
Hispanic or Latino 5
White 18
International Students 0
Other Races/Ethnicities 3

How Much Do Solar Energy Majors Make?

Salaries According to BLS

Solar Energy Tech majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $46,010 to $65,720 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Solar Energy Major  ( 46010 to 65720 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some careers associated with solar energy tech require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

Find out what the typical degree level is for solar energy tech careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 3.5%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 16.2%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 15.9%
Some College Courses 1.9%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 34.7%
Bachelor’s Degree 25.1%
Master’s Degree 4.1%

Online Solar Energy Programs

In 2018-2019, 65 schools offered a solar energy tech program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 36 1
Certificate (1-2 years) 24 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 20 1
Bachelor’s Degree 2 1
Post-Baccalaureate 36 1
Master’s Degree 1 0
Post-Master’s 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Solar Energy Worth It?

The median salary for a solar energy tech grad is $46,010 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 15% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $122,200 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to solar energy tech.

Major Number of Grads
Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Engineering Technology/Technician 6,462
Water Quality & Wastewater Treatment Management & Recycling Technology/Technician 1,594
Energy Management & Systems Technology/Technician 912
Environmental Engineering Technology/Environmental Technology 392
Hazardous Materials Management & Waste Technology/Technician 180
Other Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians 105

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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